Absolute must read for all entrepreneurs!

James Altucher just published on Techcrunch a 100 point FAQ on starting an Internet business. It’s straight to the point and very clear. I basically agree with every point!

All entrepreneurs should read it, especially first time entrepreneurs:

The end of an era!

PC World just exited the print market, marking the exit of the last general-interest PC magazine. I am actually surprised that it did not happen earlier. Magazines readership as a whole is declining as readers are moving online. This is all the more true in technology where tech nerds’ thirst for immediacy is pushing us to sites like Techmeme, Techcrunch, Engadget and The Verge.

On top of that the PC market as a whole is declining as it being supplanted by tablets that are “good enough”. Worse, our PCs are generally “good enough” themselves. We are no longer waiting for the next generation graphic card, hard drive, motherboard or processor. Instead we are waiting for the next smartphone with longer battery life, faster processor, higher resolution screen and next generation operating system. It’s no longer Windows clone makers vs. Apple. It’s Android clone makers (especially Samsung) vs. Apple. The battleground has shifted and Android is the new Windows.

That said the passing of PC World brought about a bout of nostalgia. Growing up I was addicted to PC Magazine, Byte, Computer Shopper, Computer Gaming World and PC Week. They all played a role in my life. PC Magazine had the best reviews and great columns by John C. Dvorak. Byte had Jerry Pournelle’s Chaos Manor. PC Week, which was only accessible to industry professionals, had the best and most current industry news (being weekly instead of bi-weekly or monthly). I was delighted to get access to it after I created Princeton International Computers which exported computer equipment from the US to Europe and helped me pay for my lifestyle in college and provided the capital that ultimately became the seed money of my first real Internet startup. Computer Gaming World introduced me to many of my favorite games. Computer Shopper was like porn for computer nerds. You could find anything and everything and I was fascinating by the ever declining prices of hardware brought about by Moore’s Law and the insane competition in the industry.

While I was running my computer company, I was upgrading my hardware every few weeks. I was replacing the motherboard, hard drive, tape drive, modem, Ethernet card or some other component. I was always tinkering with my computer and tweaking it and those magazines were an endless source of inspiration.

In the mid to late 1980s, I remember expectedly waiting for their release. I had become a very loyal client of one of the few newsstands with enough depth to have them all. I knew expected street release dates and would impatiently go check for them on said day. I would be devastated when their arrival was delayed by a day or two. In college I clearly remember how much joy I would get going to my mailbox expecting to receive them. Yes I was, and remain, a huge nerd 🙂

I would not give up my current tech news sources for anything, but really have a special spot in my heart for those publication as I grew up with them. Reading about their passing I was actually surprised how many others felt similarly about them. They clearly resonated in a similar way for Harry McCracken at Time Magazine and Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic. They eloquently describe their emotional attachment to them in their well written articles:

Computer magazines brought us dreams, aspirations and hopes. In showing us what was always around the corner, we gleaned at the wonderful world of tomorrow which we now inhabit. We grew up with them and through them. May they rest in peace!

How to live

By Otilia Aionesei

When I think about sixteen-century European writers, I think of a heavily ornamented writing style and grand themes such as history, religion and ethics. I had no reason to believe Montaigne will be different than most Renaissance writers, but what I discovered in Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live: A Life of Montaigne is a modern thinker in every sense of the word. The book is a short biography of Montaigne, and a wonderful celebration of being alive and conscious. Every chapter is based on one of Montaigne’s Essays, and attempts to answer questions such as how to cope with loss, death, or failure? In teaching how to live, Montaigne exposes as accurately as possible how he felt when he himself faced these dilemmas. He does not attempt to answer how you should live, as he is more interested in human emotions rather than the ethical fabric of our actions. His sincerity, his humbleness, and the modern character of his themes will strike you. So, it is worth looking at all twenty questions explored by Bakewell in her book, because every single one of them can resonate with twenty first century readers.

How to Live:

  1. Don’t worry about death: Focus on being alive instead.
  2. Pay Attention: The present is the most immediate, so pay full attention to it.
  3. Be Born: The first years of your life will determine who you will become.
  4. Read a lot, forget most of what you read, and be slow-witted: Forgetting what you’ve learned will allow you to follow your own naked thinking rather than others’ ideas – which can be deceiving.
  5. Survive love and loss: Transform a being from a real-life person into an entity entirely under your control and live for others such as your friends. Montaigne also discovered the therapeutic benefit of writing when coping with loss.
  6. Use little tricks: Use tricks of your imaginations when dealing with mild emotions or severe depression. If you grieve the loss of something valuable pretend that you never had it in the first place. On the other hand, if you are tired of your possessions, pretend you have lost everything. You can’t miss what you never had.
  7. Question everything: Always investigate knowledge before accepting it.
  8. Keep a private room behind the shop: Escape daily in your own, private space.
  9. Be convivial. Live with others: Be social, and open to debates and conversations.
  10. Wake from the sleep of habit: See things from others’ perspective. Patters can be threatening to your intellect and wellbeing.
  11. Live temperately: Don’t try to be extraordinary. Being truly human means being moderate and accepting that we all share the same human condition.
  12. Guard you humanity: Don’t get too involved in the affairs of the world.
  13. Do something no one had done before: Write, be creative, be innovative.
  14. See the world: Travel the world with your eyes wide open.
  15. Do a good job, but not too good a job: If you are good at something, be aware of the responsibilities attached to your talent.
  16. Philosophize only by accident: Do not try to be a philosopher, nor a moralist, simply write from the heart.
  17. Reflect on everything. Regret nothing: Accept whatever happens in life and don’t attempt to change the past.
  18. Give up control: When you write or create art you need to accept that others will criticize and do what they please with your work.
  19. Be ordinary and imperfect: Learn to live and embrace your own imperfections. Flaws are the fundamental conditions of humans’ lives.
  20. Let life be its own answer: The answer to “How to live?” is in you. Montaigne suggests this by offering his own life experiences as an example.

How to live is in essence Montaigne’s blueprint of eudaimonia – a way of living that can best be translated as happiness.